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Sunday 22 November 2015

Nothing (partly rewritten)

Bloggers who are in it for the long haul must learn how to write a post about nothing. The need crops up regularly: I've been silent too long, you say to yourself, readers will imagine I've cut my throat. They'll reckon they've seen the signs.

Writing about nothing means just that. No fancy verbs, no words with capital letters, no grand abstractions, no nouns outside the basic 700-word vocabulary. Damn! See that! The v-noun breaks the rule. And I'm not too sure about the r-word.

OK, I'm ready to go.

I am. Yes, that's OK. My am-ness was yesterday but is not yet tomorrow. I know my am-ness because it is not your am-ness. For me there is nothing more than my am-ness; more would be other-ness and other-ness could be you. I am and you are are the am-nesses of each of us. Neither is the other. I see you and say: he is. He is because he has his is-ness; I have my is-ness.

You get the idea. Suddenly, you say, who's the smartyboots? Obviously the guy who decided, more than a thousand posts ago, in 2008, that he would limit his posts to 300 words. And that's me, blowing my own trumpet.

It makes sense. A 300-word post about nothing is kinder to readers than one of 1000 words.

And there's more. A post about nothing can be improved. An earlier version of this post actually said something; parts of it were almost literature. Clearly that was cheating - the thought came to me (as bad thoughts always do) at 3 am today. Quickly I re-wrote the final third. I'm sure if you read the first version you'll agree this one is much more nothing-y.

Final question. Can a post about nothing be anything other than dull? But it's the wrong question: the aim is to do one's duty, to fill space.

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair


  1. The question I am most often asked about our blog is, "How do you think of something to say every day?" That has only been a problem once in three years; more often I have a plethora of ideas bouncing round my head, making themselves known at inopportune moments. The curse of the blogger (maybe the female one) is not the fear of running out of ideas, but of filing her whole life, element by element as blog posts.

  2. I only post when something appears in my mind. Then it begins to elaborate. Then I need to sit down and compose - maybe look up some images to include. Sometimes it something I see when out and about.
    I never post for the sake of it ("I have not posted for sometime, must think up a subject to write about"). Perhaps this shows a vacuity of mind. No doubt some of my former acquaintances (they never became friends) would agree.

  3. Right,your am-ness, that's settled it, I'm skipping today. I might put a picture up.

  4. Blonde Two/Avus: Clearly you both belong to the League of Gilded Bloggers. Neither of you has ever faced the need to write about nothing as I frequently have.

    The shocking thing is you've both wasted your time reading this post. Please forgive me for that. Future posts, where appropriate, will carry a health warning.

    Lucy: Ah... I struck a chord here in Herefordshire and it resonated down there in Brittany. Stick in a pic; a pic is neither something nor nothing. But you, alas, have a Lumix and I only have a Canon Power Shot. Sincerely, Am-ness.

  5. Well no, in fact, I'm down to a little Powershot now. The Lumix is still around but I've passed it on to Tom. I got rather fed up with having to lug a camera round my neck and make the decision to carry it, and also I had a vain hope that the Canon would be something like the very first digital we had, a small Powershot bridge, only about 6mgpx, heavy, short-lived batteries, but such a lovely camera. Its life was short though, and no camera has ever been as good since.

  6. Blanc is unacceptable in this space here.

  7. Given the circumstances, I'm not willing to say nothing.